Despite the embattled state of the global economy and resulting lack of political enthusiasm for tackling environmental and climate change issues, the $866 billion global environmental market managed four percent growth in 2011, according to research by Environmental Business Journal.
This growth puts it fractionally ahead of global GDP growth of 3.9 percent and up from the 1 percent decline recorded in the worldwide global environmental market in 2009, according to EBJ’s Global Environmental Markets 2012. EBJ forecasts the same global growth rate for the industry in 2012.
The United States, Western Europe and Japan remain by a substantial margin the three largest environmental markets in EBJ’s 11-region revenues analysis. But they are also the oldest and most mature. By contrast, growth in the global environmental market was led in 2011 by Africa, up 10 percent, followed by the Middle East and rest of Asia, both up 9 percent.
In terms of the 14 global environmental business segments tracked by EBJ, the largest is solid waste management at $140.9 billion, followed by water utilities and water treatment works. However, clean energy systems and power ranks as the fourth largest segment in 2011, demonstrating robust 11 percent growth – significantly higher than the traditional infrastructure segments. Only resource recovery grew faster, up 13 percent in 2011.
In the consulting and engineering segment, which contributed $54.8 billion to total global environmental revenues in 2011, resource development is the dominant theme, as modernizing economies develop the energy and raw materials needed for industrial growth, the report says.
According to a study from Verdantix out this week, corporate spending on energy, environment and sustainability management in 2013 will grow by less than 10 percent.